U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Wyoming News Release
 
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December 15, 2008

Contact:
   Sarah Beckwith
   307-347-5207

BLM Worland Grazing Permittee Wins
 Wyoming Excellence in Rangeland Stewardship Award

Mike Healy of the LU Ranch, recipient of the Excellence in Rangeland Stewardship award.

Mike Healy of the LU Ranch, recipient of the Excellence in Rangeland Stewardship award.

A combination of prescribed fires and adjustments to livestock distribution & numbers results in improved range health on the LU Ranch.

A combination of prescribed fires and adjustments to livestock distribution & numbers results in improved range health on the LU Ranch.

BLM firefighter Emily Hake treats the LU grazing allotment with prescribed fire.

BLM firefighter Emily Hake treats the LU grazing allotment with prescribed fire.

The LU Ranch, nominated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Worland Field Office, was presented the Wyoming Excellence in Rangeland Stewardship award by the Society for Range Management during a banquet held on Nov. 18 in Cheyenne, Wyo.

The LU Ranch, operated by Mike Healy, Danny Love and Steve Griffith, is located in the western Bighorn Basin in Hot Springs, Park and Washakie counties - west of Worland, south of Meeteetse and northwest of Thermopolis - in the foothills of the Absaroka Mountains. The LU Ranch holds the largest grazing permit in the Bighorn Basin and the ninth largest in Wyoming. The LU grazing allotment consists of approximately 100,000 acres of BLM, 25,000 acres of state and 25,000 of deeded lands.

While LU Ranch accomplished many range improvements over the past 20 years, the most dramatic visible improvement has been along several miles of both Grass and Little Grass Creeks. Stream segments that once had few willows now have enough of this important riparian vegetation to support a healthy beaver population. Trout were introduced to Grass Creek in 1998 and are now reproducing in spite of the severe drought. An aggressive prescribed fire program, development of more summer pastures, and an adjustment of livestock numbers during the drought have resulted in improved upland range health.

BLM Worland Acting Field Manager Mike Roberts said, "The entire Worland Field Office range, fire, and wildlife staff agree that Mike, Danny, and Steve are all committed to their work, are constantly offering new ideas to improve management, and have found ways to accommodate multiple uses and still run a successful ranching operation."

The LU Ranch has been proactive in working with the BLM and state agencies in implementing range improvements and management practices that truly benefit livestock grazing, wildlife, and recreational opportunities. The lengthy list of accomplishments includes:

  • development of a road management plan with the BLM, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the State Land Board on 20,000 acres to improve wildlife habitat and hunting opportunities
  • implementation of 13 prescribed burns on 15,000 acres over a 15 year period
  • collaboration with the BLM to regenerate 300 acres of decadent Aspen stands
  • development of a livestock water system on winter range that has proven to be an important wildlife water source
  • collaboration with the BLM to modify over 50 miles of net wire sheep fence to accommodate antelope, deer and elk movement
  • development of several pastures on the summer range resulting in improved grazing management, more forage for wildlife, and watershed protection
  • implementation of a comprehensive livestock water system in Little Grass Creek that decreased grazing impacts on riparian vegetation and improved grazing distribution
  • collaboration with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to develop the Absaroka Front Hunter Management area that increased hunting opportunities on areas of the ranch with mixed land status
  • successfull introduction of trout to Grass Creek in cooperation with the Chief Washakie Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department

For more information please contact the Worland Field Office at (307) 347-5100.

- BLM - 

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Last updated: 12-15-2008